I'm not sure any franchise has been fortunate enough to have so many high-class personalities with star power sticking around for so long. The San Antonio Spurs had just that with the trio of Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan, and Tony Parker.
The desire to stay and win together as much as possible always took precedence over anything else and the result was a dynastic run that included five NBA championships in 15 seasons. On top of the financial sacrifices, the Big Three and Coach Gregg Popovich all got along beautifully, and a big part of that was how well all of their personalities meshed.
All four were never afraid to have fun on the court, even in serious moments that required clutch decision-making. Popovich has always had a strong sense of humor, and Ginobili's was highly underrated as well. Whether intentional or not, Manu frequently made us all laugh throughout his 16-year career.
With some deep cuts included, here are some of my favorite hilarious Manu moments.
10. "I gave my right one for the Spurs."
As Scottie Pippen put it shortly after Ginobili retired, "There's no player in this game that sacrificed more than this young man." If you're not aware of this next story, you're about to be made a believer of that sentiment as well.
In 2016, he made the ultimate sacrifice during a regular season game against the New Orleans Pelicans. Catching a right knee from Ryan Anderson directly in the groin area, Manu went down for the count. "Usually when that happens, it hurts for a little bit. And then after three minutes, you're back at it," Ginobili described. "It was three minutes, five minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, an hour, an hour and a half, and I was still in the same level of pain."
Manu ended up needing immediate testicular surgery for the injury and missed several games. Of course, none of that is funny. In fact, that sounds incredibly painful and awful. But it was how Manu recapped the traumatic even later on that made me laugh.
"I gave my right one," said Manu when talking about all of the sacrifices he's made. "I gave it all, I gave it all. I gave my right one for the Spurs, I can say it, I can really say it. It’s true."
Ginobili later said it was something that's never happened in the history of the franchise. Let's hope it stays that way.
9. Manu isn't sure how to address his new friend
After Manu called it a career, it's been great to see how much he's been enjoying his retired life. Just take a look at his Instagram and you'll see him traveling the world with his family, biking around town with old friends, and attending city events.
In one such city event, Manu visited a local park for the unveiling of a plan for renovations. It was there that he met the mascot for the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department. Sporting fancy new fiesta-style Spurs biking gear, Manu briefly spoke before saying goodbye to the tree, but he didn't know exactly how to address him.
Ironically, the name of the mascot is one Ginobili should be very familiar with -- Parker.